When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

French Antique Tale: A Father’s Christmas Gift From 1946 Cycles Back To Owner

Bicycle standing near house

Rozena Crossman

Joseph Carayon was ten years old in 1946, living in the small southern French town of Abeilhan, when his father gave him a bicycle for Christmas. As a newly freed prisoner of war, the father had cobbled the bike together from spare parts, making for a particularly special Christmas gift.

But when he came of age, Joseph began riding a moped and lent the bike to a friend, and never saw it again. Until a brocanteur — a French antiques dealer — regifted the long-lost vehicle to Joseph a month ago.


Another dealer had found the bike in a flea market 30 kilometers away, and noticed a plaque that read: “Joseph Carayon Abeilhan HLT.” He contacted the colleague from Abeilhan, a 35-year-old named Thomas.

Joseph Carayon, his Christmas bicycle and the kindly "brocanteur" who reunited them.France Bleu Hérault

“I could have kept it for scrap,” said the brocanteur. “The bike was all rusty. Bikes like that are a dime a dozen. But my sharp eye was drawn to this plate under the handlebars.”

Thomas saw the name and knew exactly who had once owned the bike — and decided to make it his professional holiday mission to deliver it to him.

Now 85 years old, Joseph Carayon was already a local cycling icon in and around Abeilhan, as one of the oldest paperboys for the regional newspaper Midi Libre, which first reported the story.

Known as “Jojo,” he covers up to 13 kilometers per day delivering the news, half of which he does on a much newer bike.

Although his gift from all those years ago is still in working condition, he said he will reserve it for special occasions. “I had tears in my eyes,” said Carayon when reading about the return of his bicycle in the very paper he distributes. Seventy-five years ago, it was a special delivery from his dad; now from a young stranger … it’s the Christmas gift that keeps giving.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

Keep reading... Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch Video Show less
MOST READ